What’s in Store for the Transgender Community in 2014?

The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery founder Dr. Sherman Leis — who was written about in Philly Mag’s recent story “Is Philly the New Transgender Capital of the World?” — reached out to G Philly to share 10 trends he believes will affect the transgender community in 2014. And, for the most part, he sees things on the uptick. “Supportive laws, positive public statements by top political leaders, and growing cultural acceptance indicate that momentum is moving in the right direction,” he says.

What does that mean exactly? In the coming year he says we will begin to see people coming out as transgender at younger ages, more programs will sprout up to educate health care professionals on trans issues, and, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health care equality for the trans community will become more of a reality. On the flip side, however, he does warn against an increase in violence against trans people, because, “the fast pace of gay marriage legalization and overall LGBT acceptance breeds more anger among certain groups.”

See his complete list after the jump.

  1. Health care equality. Health care coverage for the transgender community is not quite equal yet, but it seems that 2013 was the tipping point in our favor. The start of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the trickle-down effect in the business world, which is being influenced by a growing majority of Fortune 500 companies that now include transgender surgery and care in their health insurance programs, are making true health care equality a reality.
  2. More, not less violence against transgender people. Unfortunately, the fast pace of gay marriage legalization and overall LGBT acceptance breeds more anger among certain groups. That, combined with bizarre cultural trends like the “knock out game” bring violence to the general population and enhance a violent environment which will be magnified against groups like transgender people.
  3. The transgender suicide rate will be further reduced. Transgender mental health and medical care including surgery has proven to be an effective “cure” for depression among transgender people. As surgery becomes more affordable, thanks to enlightened health care insurance coverage, suicides are going go down.
  4. More children and teenagers will be coming out identifying as being transgender. And thanks to expanding transgender education, more supportive parents, and societal acceptance, these children will be able to come to terms with their gender dysphoria so much more quickly.
  5. Growing independence of the transgender political movement. Initially grouped in with the gay and lesbian movements, the transgender movement is strengthening its own identity to promote and support the unique issues facing the transgender community.
  6. More programs to educate health care professionals about transgender issues and care. This will result in less discrimination and greater sensitivity among health care professionals.
  7. More acceptance into mainstream America. One is hearing more about transgender people in “normal” activities such as running companies, becoming politicians, starring in TV shows, winning beauty pageants, and more.
  8. The U.S. continues to grow towards a world leadership position in transgender surgery and quality medical care. More and more trans patients from around the world are coming to the U.S. for surgery where they formerly would have gone to Asia and Europe.
  9. The development of more public institutions, such as the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York and the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, with the express purpose of supporting and assisting the transgender community, especially in the areas of healthcare, suicide prevention, transgender children, and others.
  10. The Transgender Day Of Remembrance gaining in public awareness where it is becoming more widely known by the general population.